4th of July Weekend and Office Hours

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jun 30, 2017 12:10:00 PM

Our office will be closed on Tuesday, July 4th in honor of Independence Day

  A reduced staff will be working remotely/on call to handle the needs of our customers on Monday, July 3rd.

However, we understand the importance of customer service and issues that may arise during this busy retail holiday.

 If you have an emergency, please call us at 243-2683 and follow the prompts to page our after hours technician.  For support hours and information, click here.

Have a safe and Happy 4th of July.  From the team at Skurla's!

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Tablets in Restaurants: How Long Should They Last?

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jun 28, 2017 3:27:02 PM

We wanted to share this blog post from Oracle Hospitality discussing the use of tablets in restaurants.

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Spare Equipment Available for Backups

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jun 28, 2017 2:42:05 PM

Accidents happen. It's late Friday night, someone accidentally spills a coke on your kitchen printer.

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Don't Forget! MasterCard BIN range expanding to include BINs that begin with a 2

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jun 28, 2017 1:56:41 PM

Summary:

MasterCard is expanding the BIN range by introducing a new series of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) BINs that begin with a “2” (222100–272099). The “2” series BINs will be processed in the same manner that the “51–55” series BINs are processed today.

MasterCard anticipates that the “2” series BINs will be completely supported no later than October 14, 2016. Customers may choose to enhance their systems prior to the implementation date.

 Solution:  Please read below!

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Big Data - What is the Big Deal?

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | May 25, 2017 2:02:00 PM

Seem like we hear about Big Data everywhere these days.

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Oracle Hospitality - MICROS RES 3700 Release 5.5

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | May 24, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Features and Updates for Release 5.5

This chapter describes the new features and functionality updates contained in this release.

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From Oracle Hospitality: Trends Influencing Point of Sale (POS)

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | May 19, 2017 2:04:55 PM

From Oracle Hospitality - Trends Influencing Point of Sale:

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We have a Superhero - and his name is Jeff

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | May 19, 2017 11:39:41 AM

 Meet Jeff Wood - one of our superheros .  Jeff joined us in 2012 - and knows point of sale inside and out.  One of our fundamental core values is Teamwork - and Jeff embodies that value in everything he says and does.  

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The Importance of a Backup!

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Apr 25, 2017 5:01:01 PM

This is the most important security rule of all. Back up your drive with all of your data, weekly or daily (or even more frequently), depending on the volume of transactions. A rule of thumb: You should never be in a position where reentry of data requires more than a day’s work.

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Pay at the Table and EMV - What Does it Mean for your Restaurant?

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Apr 20, 2017 9:27:00 AM

We frequently get asked about the future of Pay at the Table - and why it hasn't been widely adopted in Alaska (and the rest of the U.S.).  Here is an article from Hospitality Technology from June 2016:

"In an EMV world, it’s best practice for cards to never leave the customer’s possession during a transaction. In the U.S., an additional driver for bringing payment to the table is mobile payment solutions such as Apple Pay, which require either a fingerprint ID or PIN. The payment method can’t come to the POS – customers aren’t going to turn over their PIN or smartphone – so the POS has to come to the customer.
 
There are multiple benefits for implementing tableside payment at restaurants. Not only does bringing the point of sale to the customer help to boost table turns and revenue, it also helps to protect customer cardholder data, which is a major concern for merchants. Here, Greg Burch, vice president of strategic initiatives U.S. for Ingenico Group, highlights some of the perks and breaks down a few best practices.
 
Paybacks from tableside payment
Higher table turns. Consider a typical payment transaction with a magnetic stripe card: a server drops a check at the table in a billfold, and leaves. The customer retrieves their card and leaves it in the billfold, then waits for the server to return. Sometimes that happens a minute later, and sometimes it’s 10 or more minutes later.  Then the customer waits again for their receipt. Most restaurants measure table turns closely, and even small increases can contribute to profitability. Moving from three to four table turns per shift can increase revenue by 20-25 percent.
 
Less waiting for customers, higher tips for servers. Cutting down that wait time by bringing the payment device to the table not only leads to more table turns and increased face-time, but also higher customer satisfaction. The result is better tips for servers. We witnessed this firsthand in Canada, where Pay-at-the-Table became the standard shortly after that country’s EMV migration in 2010.
 
Reduced chargebacks. Businesses that do not upgrade their payment technology to accept EMV chip cards are putting themselves at risk of chargebacks due to credit card fraud. Major acquirers have reported that chargebacks have been on the rise since the October 2015 liability shift, with restaurants being one of the major areas affected. This is essentially a trickle-down effect: as more merchants move to EMV, fraud moves to areas that have been slower adopters. Even a small increase in chargebacks and card fraud can be potentially devastating to a small business.
 
Reductions in identity theft. Card skimming by servers has been known to occur in the hospitality industry, where cards typically leave consumers’ sight for several minutes. Servers who are part of fraud rings can wear discreet card skimmers on their belt loops and collect card data from hundreds of customers in a week. Five hundred skimmed cards can be sold on the black market for $1500 or more – significantly boosting a server’s annual income. Pay-at-the-table eliminates that possibility by keeping cards out of servers’ possession.
 
8 Best practices for rolling out pay-at-the-table  
There is no question that pay-at-the-table is becoming a major factor in the market, with some – ipredicting it to be the predominant payment method throughout the hospitality industry by the end of 2016. For those thinking of rolling out pay-at-the-table, here are a few tips for a smooth and successful implementation.
 

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MasterCard BIN range expanding to include BINs that begin with a 2

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Apr 14, 2017 3:33:13 PM

Summary:

MasterCard is expanding the BIN range by introducing a new series of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) BINs that begin with a “2” (222100–272099). The “2” series BINs will be processed in the same manner that the “51–55” series BINs are processed today.

MasterCard anticipates that the “2” series BINs will be completely supported no later than October 14, 2016. Customers may choose to enhance their systems prior to the implementation date.

 Solution:

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Emergency Supply Kits - Be a Hero!

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Apr 4, 2017 10:00:00 AM

It's Friday night - your store or restaurant is packed.  Things are humming along nicely and you're thinking - we are busy, life is good!

Then you get the call - we are out of receipt paper at the register - can you bring us a roll?

You look, you panic - oh man - you forgot to reorder last week after they used that last roll!!!!

But you, being a smart manager/owner - know that you have that emergency supply kit tucked away for times just like these!  Viola!  Crack open the kit, and all is good.

Ok, but for those of you that don't have that emergency supply kit, well.....

So here is our advice.  First of all, make your point of sale supplies stock is something you inventory and check stock of on a regular basis.  If you purchase your supplies from us, we can even get you accurate sales history of how much you go through on a regular basis.  Preorder for a couple of months or even a season and take advantage of our quantity discounts!

But the unexpected can still happen.  So, for that reason, we suggest you create an emergency point of sale supply kit that only you or your managers know about and have access to.  Make this a part of your disaster plan!

Here are some suggestions of what to keep in that kit:

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Friendly Help When You Call Our Office

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Mar 30, 2017 2:05:02 PM

I think it is always nice to put a face with a name.  For those of you who haven't met her in person, we wanted to "introduce" you to our amazing Office Manager, Mandy Richards.  Mandy has been with us since 2015, and we couldn't be happier.

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Are You Ready for the Busy Season?

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Mar 30, 2017 9:08:37 AM

You know what we are talking about - that busy season - summer, tourists, people in general just out and about more.  And businesses get busy!

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What Do Consumers Want from a Restaurant Loyalty Program?

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Mar 29, 2017 10:55:00 AM
A Big Opportunity

Oracle conducted a global consumer survey to identify key attributes of successful restaurant loyalty programs and benefits that members most value.  We happy to provide you with a copy of this report (see below).

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What Happened with the Internet Yesterday? What is Your Disaster Plan?

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Mar 1, 2017 1:24:20 PM

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the world's largest provider of internet-based computing services - almost 150,000 companys use AWS.  Companies such as Netflix, Spotify, Pinterest, Buzzfeed, and Amazon (go figure), use this service.  When AWS had an outage yesterday, it affected hundreds of thousands of businesses!  Dave Bartoletti, a cloud analyst with Forrester, told USA Today: “This is a pretty big outage.  “It’s got north of 3 to 4 trillion pieces of data stored in it.” That's a lot of data!

 Fortunately, for our customers that have products utilizing AWS, they are on a system that offers an offline solution or a solution that still runs even if internet is down.  

However, this is a great reminder that it is time to review the disaster plan for your business.  You have one, right?

Many disasters can befall a small business (power outages, earthquakes, internet outages, fires, security breaches, etc.), but few are worse than losing vital business information. Imagine losing your entire customer list, your accounts receivable data, your sales or payroll data, your menu setup, or your inventory records. You could spend weeks –even months - reconstructing this data. In a worst-case scenario, you might not be able to reconstruct it at all.   If you are on one of our hosted solutions, many of these worries go away.

In today’s highly-computerized business world, many firms are exposed to the sudden loss of information. Natural disasters, computer viruses, mechanical failures and electronic crime can all result in catastrophic data loss. No matter how hard you try, you can’t prevent disasters from occurring. But you can take forceful steps to safeguard your data, and ensure that you can retrieve and restore your computer records should you suffer a loss.  

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Food Cost Management by Avero

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Feb 24, 2017 5:07:51 PM

Avero’s revolutionary new Food Cost Management solution makes restaurant purchasing and inventory easier than ever. It’s predictive, it’s fast, and it’s hassle-free.  And it integrates into your MICROS 3700 System.

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Deadline! Oracle (MICROS) Hospitality -  Return to Support Promo Contracts

By Thomas Greenman | Feb 17, 2017 10:57:29 AM

Here is the latest and final update from Oracle!

The deadline for renewing the contracts is Monday, February 27th, 2017!

We must have received your payment by this date, otherwise the offer expires.

You can always sign up in the future, but remember that these prices are at a 94% discount, and according to Oracle, the promo will not be offered again.  This is a very substantial discount!

Read below for more information on the Return to Support Promotion and what it means to your business.

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What Are the Top Priorities for Food and Beverage Operators in 2017?

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Feb 10, 2017 4:10:20 PM

It is still early in the new year, so we thought this would be appropriate to share with our food and beverage operators.

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Quick Tip to Protect Your Point of Sale or Cash Drawer from Theft

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Feb 8, 2017 2:11:18 PM

Tips and Tricks from the Point of Sale World:

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Take Beautiful Food Pictures on your Phone to use for Online Ordering

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Feb 7, 2017 1:19:49 PM

It used to be that you had to hire a professional to take pictures of your dishes for your online ordering application.  

Apps like Camera Plus,  Foodie,  and others,  can help you quickly and easily take beautiful food pictures to post on your Facebook page or to use for your online ordering system.

For help on getting online ordering  setup for your restaurant or tips on how to take better food pitcures, or more information on the MICROS/Oracle Online Ordering options, keep reading below.

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Take Advantage of our Free Annual System Review

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jan 30, 2017 9:14:10 AM

Some of the things we hear often from our customers - "we don't use half of the features of our point of sale system, I wish I knew more about current technologies, we are still having problems with this functionality, or we could sure use more training in this area, we want to implement this loyalty this year, but not sure the best way to approach this."

These are just some of the reasons why we offer a free annual review of our customer’s point of sale systems and related business processes at a meeting with the owners and key managers.

Many customers tell us they don't have time - (or maybe they are afraid there is a hidden cost). So, therefore we are here to tell you how easy it is, and that yes, it is truly free - no strings attached!

We truly want you to take advantage of these meetings for many reasons:

  1. It's free!  It's easy!  If you are in Anchorage, we can come to your place of business; if you aren't, we can easily set up a GoToMeeting conference call.
  2. It's important for owners and managers to keep abreast of the point of sale and payment technologies - these are the systems that run your business!
  3. Employees change - sometimes the employee that helped set up the system is no longer with your company - now is a good time to review your system and any system needs or changes you may have.
  4. We will ask questions, such as, "What are your top 3-4-5 projects your management team has decided to pursue in the coming year?"  How can we help? How can we be prepared?
  5. We want to do a better job for you and encourage customer feedback –  how we can improve our services and communications and how we can help you in the coming year.
  6. Finally, we will come up with a specific plan and action items for the areas that came up during the meeting.

Plus, we like visiting with our customers and learning what is working and/or not working for them - as partners, together we can come up with solutions to benefit you in key areas.

Sign Up Here

What to expect at the meeting for your system review:

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Oracle (MICROS) Hospitality - Return to Support Promo Contracts Sent

By Thomas Greenman | Jan 23, 2017 12:23:12 PM

We have mailed and emailed the Oracle Return to Support (RTS) contract quotes for MICROS e7 and 3700.  Please contact us if you have not received your quote.  If you have received your quote, please contact us to let us know if you are wanting to move forward with signing up for Oracle’s Return to Support.  

If we do not hear from you, we will assume that you do not want so sign up.  You can always sign up in the future, but remember that these prices are at a 94% discount, and according to Oracle, the promo will not be offered again.  This is a very substantial discount!

Oracle’s Return to Support * promotion replaces the previous dealer MSS (MICROS Subscription Service) program .  RTS enables you to have access to software updates, patches and fixes.  It also enables you to have a case started with Oracle on your behalf for any unresolvable issues, escalations, etc. that Skurla’s or our Help Desk may encounter.  Please note:  RTS does not cover any hardware or warranty issues.

If you are a current  Help Desk Customer (Gold, Silver or Bronze)  customer - this quote also includes an additional discount to reflect your current MSS contract.  On your next Help Desk renewal, MSS will NOT be included and will be billed separately and listed as Oracle Return to Support.

*Please note that labor for installing the updates is not included in the RTS pricing. 

If you don’t have a contract and have not contacted us, please email us at thomas@skurlas.com with your site information, and we’ll request your quote.  Check back here for Oracle updates - we will be posting information on the blog as we learn more.  We appreciate your patience! 

Below is the link to the original article:

Information on Oracle's Return to Support Plans

 Have more questions ?

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Oracle MICROS Power Up Promotion - Simphony

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jan 12, 2017 4:33:46 PM

If you are using MICROS or Oracle Hospitality hardware and software in your business, they have a FANTASTIC offer for you. To thank you for your loyalty, Oracle would like to upgrade you to the latest Simphony POS.

A fantastic offer for you from Oracle Hospitality  - 

  • The latest restaurant POS technology with support for point of sale, inventory, labor, loyalty, reports, and more
  • The latest POS terminals stylish and built to last
  • A discounted price for a very limited time only
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Restaurant Technology Trends for 2017

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jan 9, 2017 4:52:28 PM

Restaurateurs weigh in on what technology they will be focusing on in 2017

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Integrated Fingerprint Reader for Oracle MICROS Workstation 6 Series

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jan 5, 2017 10:05:46 AM

Oracle Hospitality now has an integrated fingerprint reader availabe for the MICROS Workstation 6 Series:

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Oracle Critical Patch Updates

By Thomas Greenman | Jan 4, 2017 2:38:42 PM

From Oracle Regarding Critical Patch Updates and Security Alert Notifications:

"Our customers should be encouraged to always keep their software current.  To help facilitate this, customers can sign up to receive quarterly Critical Patch Updates and Security Alert notifications.  The Critical Patch Update (CPU) is the primary mechanism for the release of all security bug fixes for all Oracle products. Critical Patch Updates are released quarterly on the Tuesday closest to the 17th of the month in January, April, July, and October. In addition, Oracle retains the ability to issue out of schedule patches or workaround instructions in case of particularly critical vulnerabilities and/or when active exploits are reported "in the wild." This program is known as the Security Alert program. 

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The New Oracle MICROS Workstation 6 Family

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jan 3, 2017 4:38:00 PM

New from Oracle Hospitality  - Deliver exceptional guest experiences with the Oracle MICROS Workstation 6 Family*.  Three sleek yet rugged point-of-sale (POS) terminals deliver superior performance and maximum efficiency with style.

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Oracle (MICROS) Hospitality - Return to Support Promo Update 12-28-16

By Thomas Greenman | Dec 28, 2016 9:43:51 AM

Good News!  

We have another update on the Oracle Return to Service Promotion. 

We are starting to see some of the quotes come in.  So far the pricing is very reasonable because of the promotion discounts.  We are working with all of our customers that have requested quotes and will be getting them to you as soon as possible

 What’s next?

 As soon as we have the quotes back, we will email out the costs and more details at that time.   Watch for an email after the first of the year.  If you have not heard from us by January 17th, please call us at 907-243-2683.

If you don’t have a contract and have not contacted us, please email me at thomas@skurlas.com with your site information, and we’ll request your quote.  Check back here for Oracle updates - we will be posting information on the blog as we learn more.  We appreciate your patience! 

 

Below is the link to the original article:

Information on Oracle's Return to Support Plans

 Have more questions?

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Oracle (MICROS) Hospitality - Return to Support Promo Update 12-20-16

By Thomas Greenman | Dec 20, 2016 9:06:05 AM

We have an update on the Oracle Return to Service Promotion. 

As long as a quote request has been submitted before December 23rd, Oracle will grandfather your quote.  We don’t expect to see quotes until around the first week of January due to the huge response of all MICROS/Oracle customers.

 What’s next?

 If you have a service contract with Skurla’s or have previously requested a quote for this promo, a quote has been submitted for you already.  As soon as we have the quotes back, we will email out the costs and more details at that time.   Watch for an email after the first of the year.

If you don’t have a contract and have not contacted us, please email me at thomas@skurlas.com with your site information, and we’ll request your quote.  Check back here for Oracle updates - we will be posting information on the blog as we learn more.  We appreciate your patience! 

 

Below is the link to the original article:

Information on Oracle's Return to Support Plans

 Have more questions?

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MICROS/Oracle EMV Chip Solution is Here!

By Thomas Greenman | Dec 13, 2016 4:44:59 PM


EMV
, or Chip cards, have had a slow roll out in the US over the past couple of years.  At Skurla's, we've seen a handful of third party solutions for our MICROS (Oracle) customers that forced merchants to go to a different credit card processor.  The day has come that we can provide a true solution that you can use just about any processor you want and it's from a company you probably are already using:  Merchantlink.

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Are you still on Windows XP? Critical news about Credit Cards

By Thomas Greenman | Dec 13, 2016 4:20:21 PM

Back in late 2013 you were notified about Windows XP and it’s End of Life status.  End of Life means that beyond that date that Microsoft would no longer be providing updates to the system.  Without updates, it opens the system up to vulnerabilities and breeches – all things that could spell disaster to your system.

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Oracle (MICROS) Hospitality - Return to Support Promotion

By Thomas Greenman | Dec 12, 2016 3:30:01 PM

 As you may have heard, Oracle purchased MICROS in the past couple of years and has recently completed their transition of all MICROS products to their new model.  With this new model, Oracle now provides updates directly to its end user/customers.  This new support agreement, Return to Support, provides access to the latest updates, patches and bug fixes. 

To help customers, Oracle is currently running a promotion that offers their Return to Support promotion at up to 94% off their normal price with reinstatement/penalty fees waived!

We know transitions can be a challenge and you’ve got questions.  Here are some answers to some common questions you may have:

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Oracle Hospitality RES 3700 Learning Subscription

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Nov 30, 2016 4:28:36 PM

 Many of you have asked for additional training resources.

For $297/year per user, Oracle now has online training videos.  See link below to sign up. 

A complete learning subscription for property experts, IT professionals, legacy MICROS point of sale users, and any hospitality industry professional seeking Oracle Hospitality RES 3700 training.  The RES 3700 Learning Subscription includes interactive configuration walkthroughs, best practice tutorials, and comprehensive overviews of the newest features available within the latest RES 3700 release.  This all-digital subscription is available 24/7 from any device, and will be frequently updated with new content to meet the needs of an evolving hospitality industry.

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